Monday, October 3, 2016

Mighty Man Woman of Valor



There is something about Gideon that I absolutely love...he walks into the picture with a bit of reluctance, with an unfiltered attitude of “Wait a minute, what did I do to get dragged into this mess?” If you need a refresher on Gideon's plight, basically the Lord has once again become frustrated with His nation and their disobedience toward Him, so He has sought the help of someone whom (I believe) He knows will obey.

How did the Lord know Gideon would obey? Aside from the obvious...ahem, He's God...I think we can look at the beginning of the story for the answer. In Judges 6:10 the section concludes with, “But you have not obeyed my voice” and is instantly followed by, “Now the angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress to hide if from the Midianites.”

This is actually a really big moment for Gideon, even though it looks minor and of very little significance. The Lord has chosen Gideon to defeat the Midianites—the nation Gideon's dad had told him to beat out wheat to hide from. Gideon was in the act of obedience and his obedience certainly was not something fun or something that would set him on the path to stardom.

He was doing the mundane because it was what was required of him, and then the Lord showed up and spoke something slightly absurd over him. “And the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, 'The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor.' (Judges 6:12 ESV)

Pause. The word VALOR means: “Great courage in the face of danger, especially in battle.”

Gideon was beating out wheat! There was no battle yet. There was no need for courage. Not yet, but the Lord knew there would be. God knows what is tucked around the corner, what we will be slammed with in three days, in six weeks.

What I want you to hear is that God assigned Gideon's title of COURAGE before it was actually needed. God told Gideon that He would be with him, while Gideon just wants to know why his people have been oppressed. Because this hiding provisions from the bully isn't exactly delightful. And the Lord later says to Gideon, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?” (Judges 6:14 ESV)

Woah. I don't know if you caught that, but I think we may have a bit of a sassy angel of the Lord here! Gideon had just finished filing his complaint to the angel of the Lord and slightly sassing him (I'm not certain, but I don't think you're supposed to do that), and so the angel seems to be saying, “Look, who is greater than the Lord to send you out? No one, so go do it!”

Long story short: Gideon obeys. It's quite miraculous because he actually ends up defeating the Midianites with a whopping 300 men. The reason I'm bringing Gideon up today is because I noticed something beautiful that I wanted to pass on to you.

Don't we all want to be courageous? But maybe we want to be courageous without that situation that actually requires the courage. If only, right? But the comforting thing is: God will not send us into battle without equipping us first.

He is pouring courage into you today that you'll need tomorrow.

We can be women of valor in the school supplies at Target. We can be women of valor while we are monitoring time out (again), while we carpool, at the gas station. Being obedient to what is required of us in this very moment, in this very day is sometimes the most courageous thing we can do today. And the more we do those seemingly mundane things, the better opportunity we have for God to call us to something even greater around the bend. We are Women of Valor because we have obeyed in the small...so it's likely that we'll obey in the big. And today, God is equipping you with the courage you'll need for that bigger battle that you are not yet fighting today.

As you obey your impatient, rude boss...you're a mighty woman of valor.

As you drive your son to the soccer field and ask again if he has his soccer ball and his water bottle...you're a mighty woman of valor.

As you keep your head up at the grocery store even though strangers whisper and jeer at you because of some rumor going around that cuts your character down...mighty woman of valor, you hold your head high. The Lord knows your heart and He knows what is around the corner, He knows what you are capable of with His help.

Gideon defeated the Midianites all right. They got so confused, they basically folded. It was a one in a million shot, and Gideon killed it. I don't know what your Midianites may be. A broken marriage, a wayward teen, a financial crisis...it might look impossible. And maybe technically it is. But I'm learning that God kinda likes to show off and win when no one else is cheering for Him.

I'm heading to go make breakfast for the three little sleepy heads in my house, but that's not all I'll be doing today. I'll be obeying the Lord in the ordinary, building courage and valor for the extraordinary that could show up next week, next month, next year. And that's what you're doing today, too. So go with courage and destroy your Midianites because the Lord has sent you, and He doesn't lose.

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